In Search of Quokkas on Rottnest Island

What you see is a photo of a quokka. A surprisingly cute animal who runs wild across Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth.
After an overnight flight from Indonesia to Perth in mid December, I arrived at the Wickham Retreat Hostel at 7am. After picking the brain of the extremely helpful receptionist for a day trip that I could fit in the day, she suggested Rottnest Island and cycling round to find the quokkas. At the time, I had no idea what a quokka looked like, but she described it as a miniature kangaroo or a giant rat. Personally, I preferred the first description and set off in search of one for the day.
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Hiking the Kings Canyon

I wanted my final sightseeing in Ayers Rock to be an all day excursion. The SEIT company were running a tour called the Cave Hill Safari, which promised “a full day cultural immersion experience exploring the Aboriginal Songlines (stories)” from an Aboriginal guide. Unfortunately, the guide wasn’t available the day I had, so instead, I opted for hiking the Kings Canyon instead through AAT Kings costing $199 for the day.
I’m a little crazy when it comes to walking, hiking or running conditions – I always like to test the limits. As a young boy, I remember on a 3 week summer holiday with my parents in the Greek mountains, running a good 30 minute return journey down the mountain to the shops to buy ice cream. I had also recently ran the Angkor Wat 10k whilst I was travelling through Cambodia.
Without doubt, this was probably the hottest walk I’ve done in my life, with temperatures in the sun as you hiked around 44 degrees (taking into account direct sun and the heat coming off the rocks). The advice from the guide was to take 1 litre of water for every hour you’ll be walking to prevent dehydration. For the 3-4 hour walk I chose, I had to sign a disclaimer that given the conditions, any medical attention during the hike would need to be at my own expense. My guide insisted on checking everyone’s bag and my 5 litres of water was enough let me join. Given the conditions and the fact the canyon was a 3 hour drive away, meant a harsh 04:00 pick up from the hostel in order to do the majority of the walk before the midday sun. […]

Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kuta Tjuta

Ayers Rock, known to the local Aborigines as Uluru, had been top of my list of things to see in Australia.

Why wouldn’t it be?

A chance to see the desert of Central Australia, one of the most sacred of Aboriginal sites and something that looks like a freak of nature – a huge rock in the middle of flat lands.

I spent 3 nights in the Ayers Rock Resort, saw Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the Kings Canyon. This post covers my experience of Uluru and Kuta Tjuta.

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The Importance of Building Relationships as you Travel

They say that building relationships is an important part of life. It’s known to be crucial to our social, as well as spiritual well-being. Everyone, at some point, would have felt the importance of close friends and family in their lives. Some would have come across the necessity for strong relationships in business too – more so, the further up the ladder you climb.

Building relationships isn’t normally at the forefront of most long term travellers thoughts. Before I went travelling, I read “The Lonely Planet Story: Once While Travelling”, which is essentially the story of how Tony and Maureen Wheeler, the founders of the Lonely Planet, started their business many years ago. The takeaway I had from the book, was the number of people who they met on their first journey, from England to Australia, that re-emerged as significant friends/colleagues in their lives.

Through my travels, I’ve come to realise how building relationships can be just as important and make your journey on the road orders of magnitude deeper.

In this post, I’ll describe what I mean by relationships, why it’s important to do it as you travel and the how you would go about building them.

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Luang Prabang, the Discrete Lao Town

Although getting to Luang Prabang with a slow boat was an experience in itself, once I got there, I was pleasantly surprised by the discrete waterside town.
It could be because I had no expectations about the place.
It could be because the attitude of the people was spot on – letting you get about your business but happy to serve if you need it.
It could be because the scenery was more unspoilt than I had seen until now.
Either way, my three days in Luang Prabang was a warming one. Here’s what I did…
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